Several Merritt Island football players took the field on Friday to take on the Viera Hawks. Except this time, they weren’t playing football. They were playing lacrosse.
Lacrosse continues to gain popularity in Brevard County with youth and high school athletes. Many athletes are now turning to lacrosse as their “offseason” sport, says Mustangs strength and conditioning coach Matt Martin.
“We get a lot of football players crossing over (to lacrosse) in the spring,” Martin said.
“So it becomes a year-round thing for them. A lot of what I do with their strength program involved recovery from one sport to another.”
On the girls side, it’s common for soccer players to switch over to lacrosse in the spring. For soccer players, it’s an easy conditioning transition from sport-to-sport.
Craig Carson, Merritt Island’s girls varsity lacrosse coach, said most of his team consists of two-sport athletes, many of whom play soccer.
“It’s a little expensive to get into, with the equipment and stuff,” Carson said. “But once they get into it, they see how fun it is.”
Last year, Brevard had its first boys lacrosse player sign a college scholarship. Michael Leary, a senior at Holy Trinity, signed with Adams State.
Leary also played football for the Tigers. Except for him, lacrosse was his primary sport.
Carson sees lacrosse becoming a primary sport for local athletes, eventually.
“It’s growing real fast,” Carson said.